As he made that statement, all eyes turned to him, and lips parted in wonder, at the calmness with which he was taking the matter of his wife cheating on him. In fact, some of the ladies, myself inclusive, wondered how this middle aged man I will call Tunde, got to that stage, and what type of person his wife was.
He continued as though he noticed our reactions, “When I started noticing her unusual behaviour, I took all our four kids and we went for a paternity test, which proved that all of them are mine. That put my mind to rest, at least I would not be spending my hard-earned money on my wife’s bastard.” More raised eyebrows.
All of this happened at a party, a very public place, where you would not expect such topics to be discussed, but that was where the dirty linen of this family were being washed. Perhaps it was the wine, or being among friends, or a combination of both factors, because Tunde’s tongue was loose and it spilled.
Tunde and his wife, Jumoke, had met as undergraduates in the University, and had only been friends. Jumoke was practically engaged to her then boyfriend, who was in the class ahead of them. That relationship came to a nasty end, when her boo graduated, went off to Youth Service, and refused to respond to her letters, or even have anything to do with her.
Tunde had literally walked into the pity party Jumoke was having one afternoon, in a secluded corner of the University campus. She was hiding from the prying and taunting eyes of her room mates, who would have reminded her of how stupid she was to believe Femi, her boo, was going to marry her, if he ever left the walls of the school before her. After yet another letter went unanswered, Jumoke found a corner to cry her eyes out, and accept that her love had flown away like the wings.
That was when Tunde wandered in there, seeking a place to relieve himself. Instead of the put-together and big babes on campus, he met a teary eyed, messy haired Jumoke, who was now trying to hide in plain sight. Tunde was a softie, when it came right down to it. He was so touched, he forgot he wanted to wee, and he went to Jumoke to comfort her. He actually had her on his laps, and brought out his handkerchief to wipe her tears.
When she calmed down enough, he left to get her water to clean her face, even as she was clinging to him, not to leave her alone. Eventually, Jumoke let go, and Tunde was soon back with the water, and food for her. He practically had to wash her face and feed her, as she had cried so much, she had no strength. And he stayed with her, until it was dark, and escorted her to her hostel.
That was the start of their relationship. In the early days, Jumoke was very clingy and needy of Tunde; she wanted him by her side most of the time. They were not in the same faculty, but, somehow, they split their time between each other’s faculty, because she needed him close by. Did tongues wag?!!! “So, Jumoke is now hanging on to Tunde, as though her life depends on him, so soon after Femi left school.” “Ah, Tunde is now with Femi’s ex. He no get eyes?” Everyone had an opinion about the new couple, but they did not care.
Even though there were moments when Tunde wondered what he was getting into with Jumoke, as here was a girl he had only said hi to as a fellow student, known as the girlfriend of someone else, and now, she was his girlfriend. It warranted some thought, but he always remembered how much Jumoke needed him emotionally, and that was enough to erase all thoughts of easing out of her life from him.
For the rest of their stay in the school, they were an item. They ‘worked’ their service to ensure they both served in same state, so they saw each other every day. The truth was, they lived as a couple during their Youth Service, and that was when their first child was conceived.
It was a shocking turn of events. They were not ready, nor were they willing to terminate the pregnancy. In the end, they did a hush hush registry wedding, both families met each other, the bride price was paid, and that was it. They were a married couple, with a baby on the way.
That reality was a bit harder. Both were serving, earning the minimum wage and a stipend from their places of primary assignment, but no more cushioning from their parents, who had often sent some money every month. They were on their own.
Somehow, they got favoured, and both got jobs right after service. Jumoke was retained at the company where she’d served, while her husband got a better job elsewhere, right after the service year ended. So their lives were back on track, a smooth sail, with no storm in the horizon. They were very much in love with one another, if you can call it that. And they were also good to one another.
As the years passed, their family grew, until it became one of four kids; three boys and a girl. Perfect combination, in the books of their Dad. And then the stories started. People started to report sightings of his wife in unusual places, and when he asked her, she always turned it into a fight, and then cried until they rehashed that scene of the day they met in that corner of their University.
She would travel under the guise of business, and then become incommunicado, even to her kids. The secrecy was so much, that Tunde soon turned into an investigator of his wife. What he found out shocked him! His wife, his beautiful girl, whom he had cleaned her tears those years back, had gone back into the arms of the man who had dumped her.
He was hurt, so hurt, he couldn’t function for days. He read the messages they had exchanged, and professing undying love for one another, he discovered the countless calls, the encrypted images of them together, and the worst part was that his wife denied ever having an affair.
Instead of creating a scene, he had decided to wait and watch, because he knew the bubble was going to burst. In the meantime, he confirmed the paternity of his kids, while waiting for his wife, to come back to her senses.
In his words, “I still love that girl. Jumoke still needs me. She just temporary forgot. She will remember.”
Those words broke my heart. How many men can love a woman to the extent that he would overlook her infidelity, in the face of overwhelming evidence?
Already, some of his friends and listeners were calling him a fool, and a disgrace of a man, for still accommodating his wife, under his roof.
What do you think; is it love, or plain foolishness?
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.